Written by Juan Martinez

So let’s get this out of the way now. Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is a mess at times. The editing is all over the place, some scenes (specifically the ending) drag on a bit too long, and there are times where you’re not exactly sure if you’re watching a Batman movie or a Superman movie. Though these flaws are noticeable and hurt the movie significantly, the parts they get right get them extremely right but is that enough to make it worth your money?

BvS is the second film of the DC Extended Universe that started with Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” back in 2013 & its the direct sequel. It’s been 18 months since the battle between Superman and the Kryptonians that left Metropolis destroyed, and the people of earth are rightfully wary of this “Physical God”. Superman (played by Henry Cavill reprising his role from Man of Steel) is living in Metropolis now, moving on up from his small farm town of Smallville and working at the Daily Planet, Superman (or Clark Kent as he goes by in his alter ego) has now taken a job at the Daily Planet and is suddenly obsessed with trying to expose a vigilante for what he is: a ruthless violent anti-hero. This vigilante is of course none other than Batman. Superman’s side of the movie is like you’d expect, it’s him coming to terms with what he really is to the people of earth. If he’s really a hero or is he nothing but a threat? It’s handled very well in my opinion with some scenes that support both sides to the argument. Cavill himself I think did a wonderful job as Superman. In “Man of Steel”, he felt like a silent protagonist. Not really saying much till the second half of the movie, and just felt really inhuman with the way he spoke almost like a gentle giant that’s first learning to communicate. This time though he’s comfortable with people. He’s talking, at parties, rubbing elbows with the rich and just a lot more likable. Towards the end of the film with the final battle he does a great job with facial expression and you can see the pain and anger that he’s going through when he’s giving it his all to save the people that both love and hate him.

Batman (this time played incredibly by Ben Affleck) has been in the crime fighting game for about 20 years and oh man does it show. Batman is easily the best part of this film. There is a scene of him just as Bruce Wayne in Metropolis while the battle with Superman and Zod happens to be going on and off the bat you can tell he is the Batman with the way he goes headfirst into danger in attempts to save his employees that by bad luck happen to be in the middle of the gigantic brawl. I have to mention the action scenes involving him. I don’t know if Affleck did his own stunts but towards this end there was this amazing scene where he’s taking on about 10 guys at a time and all I’ll say is that if you’re a fan of the Arkham series of video games, you’re in for a treat.

The two heavy hitters do their job well and make me believe that these characters actually exists now but we cannot forget the supporting cast that help them look so good. Amy Adams returns as Lois Lane and she once again knocks it out of the park. Always looking for a story and is ready to face as much danger as possible as long as she’s able to let the people know what is going on in the world. Jeremy Irons takes the role of Alfred in this film and I have to say I really wish he was in more of it, he’s not only the butler of Bruce, he’s basically everything! He’s his Intel, his mechanic, his eye in the sky. And even the stern guardian when he needs to be.

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor is where I do begin to have a slight problem with the casting. I feel his portrayal of Lex was too silly. I understand that this isn’t THE Lex Luthor it is his some Alexander. So I went in knowing it wasn’t gonna be the exact same as the comics or tv show. But Eisenberg’s portrayal seemed too “Joker” for me. There are times he goes off tangents and tries to make a joke that just fails. Hell, even his line “Do you know the oldest lie in America?” brought back memories of “Why so Serious?” considering how many times he repeats it. There were even moments of intense seriousness like before the battle between Batman and Superman where you’d expect him to be completely straight faced and intense but no. He’s still acting silly and happy go lucky. Thankfully the addition of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman more than makes up for Luthor and she just steals the show. While in the least amount of scenes she just leaves her mark in everything she’s in. Her battle scenes alone are worth a watch just so to show how badass she can really be.

Ok now that we got the good stuff out of the way let’s start with the pretty mixed stuff. So it’s a “Man of Steel” sequel right? So you’d imagine it would start with Superman and see what he’s been up to right? Well…no. Actually it starts out with Bruce Wayne, and the death of his parents outside the Monarch theatre, and their following funeral which ends up with a young Bruce discovering the bat cave after running off. And I have to say it was…strangely good for me. While yes the scene went way quick really. Especially for it to be the beginning and an origin sorry I actually prefer it this way. I’ve been a Batman fan for years. I know his origin story. I don’t need it written out in detail for me yet again, and that’s where I’m so conflicted with this film. There is little to no explanation as to who these characters really are so if you’re going in blind without reading the comics or watching the precious cartoons and tv shows then you’re basically out of luck in terms of backstory.

The editing is definitely something that needed work on. Sometimes it felt like the scenes were just placed in randomly. Almost like it was two separate movies just meshed together and they didn’t really know what to do with some scenes so they just put them in wherever. One example I have to give is where Superman is basically threatening Batman and even tell him “The Bat is Dead” then suddenly we’re at his farm where he’s talking to his mom about what it means to be a hero THEN we’re with Lois where she’s trying to get answers as to what metal a specific bullet was made from. There’s so much going on in the span of a few minutes you think you were watching a trailer and not the full movie.

The plot also has some iffy moments here and there. It’s never truly explained why Luthor really hates Superman, there are some hints here and there that it has something to do with his father but it never is really expanded on. There were times where I felt that the story in the movie just seemed like two completely separate things going on. Most of Batman’s stories has it where he’s looking for mafia members that seem to be trafficking guns and other illegal items. Now there’s is no problem with that at all. In fact I love the scenes where they were involved. But what does it really have to do with Superman? Honestly really nothing until towards the end where they just happen to also be working with Luthor. I remember thinking. It would have been great if they split these films up really. Just removed all the Batman scenes and make it its own film. Could have been a great opportunity to give the spotlight to a lesser known Batman villain like Black Mask or Dr. Strange, and then reveal that they were hired by Luthor, but sadly that is not how it went and while I still enjoyed the final product it just leaves me wishing it was handled differently.

Through all its problems in terms of editing and no explanation for the characters and back stories themselves, It’s really hard to recommend this film for the non comic readers. There’s too much going on where if you honestly come into this movie with only little knowledge of the DC universe or its characters. You will be confused and you will be frustrated. I have to say, if you are a comic book reader and if you truly love these characters and know about them and who they are, then this film could probably be just great for you. There are a lot of scenes that are taken out of the pages. The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, and one I can’t dare say due to spoilers but trust me you’ll know exactly which one I’m talking about. They throw a lot of references you’re way too that I couldn’t help but smile at. For example, there was a scene where Bruce is woken up by a figure that seems to be warning him about an upcoming tragedy. While many people in the theatre were left wondering who that was, I’m sure a lot of longtime DC fans can guess who the character was and get a little joy in seeing him. Even the small nods and references were enough to have me fan boy a little, you got your Joker reference, your DarkSeid reference. Theres even a scene that references the video game Injustice where Superman has his own regime.

As I said before this movie leaves me incredibly mixed. The comic book fan in me absolutely loves seeing key scenes from my favorite books come to life in the big screen. But the movie fan in me understands the frustration and confusion that can be brought by going in with little knowledge of the characters. Not to mention the editing and plot is all over the place at times it does get difficult to stay focused, not to mention Eisenberg’s portrayal of Luthor makes you think you walked into a bad comedy than a super hero epic. I’d have to give the film a 7 out of 10. It’s a good set up got the inevitable Justice League film that’s still a very fun ride to be on if you’re diving in already as a long time DC Fan, but a confusing yet action packed spectacle if you go in as a new blood. Keep in mind that a extended cut will be released later this year that might fix all the problems and if not hopefully it adds more intense action sequences that will make me enjoy the superheroes going at it even more.